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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

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Wisconsin Attorney General Files Amended Complaint

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Yesterday, the Wisconsin Attorney General filed their amended complaint against the Conserve School Trustees, and also responded to the Culver Foundation's claims. The AG asserts that Conserve School's planned Semester away program is in clear violation of the trust. He is seeking a permanent injunction to preserve Conserve School as a four year College Preparatory Program.

The filed documents are attached below.

Download this file (AMENDED COMPLAINT 5-1-09.pdf)Wisconsin AG Amended Complaint[ ]640 Kb
Download this file (ANSWER TO CROSS CLAIM 5-1-09.pdf)Answer to Cross Claim[ ]320 Kb
Download this file (SUMMONS 5-1-09.pdf)Summons[ ]99 Kb

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 May 2009 15:28

Looking Back, Looking Forward

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While today's turn of events is disheartening to current students, faculty, and staff, it is far from a loss. As you may already know from reading the live trial updates, Judge Nielsen denied Conserve Community and the individual plaintiffs standing - that is, ability to sue for an independent board. Forty years ago the opposite would have been true, but the statute that governs who has standing has been muddled by ambiguous revisions over the years and now reads that eligibility "may include" certain parties.  Conserve Community's interpretation of the statute is that "may include" meant the parties enumerated in the statute were merely some of the parties who could bring a complaint, but that the list was not exhaustive. Under this interpretation, parties with a special interest (such as Conserve Community or individual parents) would possibly have standing. Conserve School argued the other way - that the eligible parties outlined in the statute constituted a full list of parties able to bring a complaint. Judge Nielsen favored a narrow interpretation of the statute and denied standing for Conserve Community and the individual plaintiffs.

While Conserve Community is not able to pursue the matter further, the Wisconsin Attorney General was permitted to intervene as a plaintiff. The judge ruled he is the proper party to represent Conserve Community and the individual plaintiffs. The Attorney General's complaint very nearly mirrors that of Conserve Community, which means this matter is far from over. The same issues are still being investigated; the only difference is who plays the voice of the plaintiff.

The bad news is that the short-term outlook does little to help current students, faculty, and staff. Judge Nielsen denied the Attorney General's motion for a temporary injunction and a stay and also declined to appoint a custodian - at least, not until the Attorney General can mount a case that the Trustees broke the law. A hearing is set for June 8th on the matter of the semester school, and whether or not the model violates the Trust. If the judge feels he doesn't have enough information at that time, he may order oral arguments which would be heard on July 22. The quick answers we had hoped for are not forthcoming, and it is only reasonable to assume that a large number of students, faculty, and staff will be forced to make other plans for next year. This will be a devastating loss for Conserve whether or not they recognize it.

The good news is that the fight is still alive and it hasn't changed. The Attorney General is still pursuing the case, the same questions will still be asked. The groundwork has been laid thanks to countless hours put in by attorneys for Conserve Community and by dozens of dedicated individuals working tirelessly behind the scenes. We've attracted the attention of the AG - what does that say about the strength of the case?

We may yet see Conserve continue as a four year program. Just because it will come too late to help many of those reading this blog right now doesn't mean the cause should be abandoned. Our commitment, now and before, was to the future generations of Conserve School students. Although we supported a short-term fix for those currently attending or employed, that was never the ultimate goal. The contribution Conserve School makes to society is felt far beyond those 1200 acres. The overwhelming support from community members, from alumni, from former employees, from people with no day-to-day connection with the school shows exactly how far Conserve School reaches. This fight is about preserving that contribution to society.

For those of you who find your connection to Conserve School doesn't end when you leave its borders, we'll still be here.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 28 May 2009 12:13 The Future.

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In regards to today's decision, as alumni of Conserve School and as founders of, we want to make one thing explicitly clear:, as an independent, alumni-authored and community driven website, is going continue in operation until Conserve School has been restored to the greatest Environmentally Focused Four Year Residential High School in the world.

Over the next few days, and Conserve Community LLC, will be busy planning the course of action for each of their respective futures, and we expect a lot of new developments to occur and decisions to be made.  Please stay tuned as we will be relaying information regarding Conserve Community LLC, and the case in general, as soon as the information becomes available.

Thank you,

Ryan McVerry '08


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 April 2009 10:09

Next Hearings

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It was ruled today that Conserve Community LLC, does not have standing to dispute the decision of the Trustees.

However, the Wisconsin Attorney General was permitted to intervene, which means that Conserve School still has a chance.

The next hearing will take place on June 8th 2009.  The court will decide if semester program violates the trust. The final ruling on this matter will be decided in a July 22nd hearing.


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Last Updated on Thursday, 28 May 2009 12:14

Mobile Website Launched

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A mobile version of the Bring Back Conserve website is now available. Just navigate to on your phone and you will automatically be taken to the mobile version of the site.

At this time, the mobile site is read-only. You will be able to quickly see newly posted articles, but you will not be able to log in to post comments, etc.

Do not use the mobile site unless you subscribe to an unlimited data plan from your cell phone provider or you may incur significant charges. Page sizes are in the 50kb range, and can increase dramatically if you view images.

Attachments are also available on the website. If you have a PDF reader on your phone, for instance, you can view those documents as well. Be aware that some are very large.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 28 May 2009 12:13

Courtroom Updates

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09:03 AM CDT: Reports from Twitterers at the hearing indicate the Attorney General has been permitted to intervene.

09:54 AM CDT: Conserve Community has been denied standing to sue the Trust.

10:52 AM CDT: Culver challenged the Attorney General's ability to sue the Trust because it is based in Illinois. Judge Nielsen declined to rule today on this matter. Still being decided is whether or not to grant the stay and the request for a custodian to represent the interests of the Conserve School Corporation.

11:18 AM CDT: Judge denies motion for appointment of a custodian. The issue is still open for exploration. The judge needs to be convinced the Trustees have broken the law.

11:18 AM CDT: Court adjourned.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 28 May 2009 12:13

Follow The Trial Proceedings Via Twitter

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Last Updated on Thursday, 23 April 2009 00:28

Thank You For Your Donations!

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Thank you to all who have donated to Conserve Community! Since Saturday, 35 donors have contributed a total of $5,235. Every dollar helps bring Conserve Community closer to its fundraising goals. The expense of building a strong legal case is significant - legal and professional expertise doesn't come cheap. Thousands of hours have been volunteered by generous and dedicated individuals, which has kept costs well below what they otherwise would have been. This is the power of the Conserve School dream.

If you have not already done so (or even if you have!) please consider donating in any amount you are able. Every contribution helps - let's keep the momentum going!

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Last Updated on Thursday, 23 April 2009 00:28

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Donate to Conserve Community

Conserve Community has opened an account to accept donations for legal and other expenses. You can donate quickly, easily, and securely by clicking one of the buttons below. Donations are handled through Paypal, but an account is not required - just a credit/debit card!

Want to donate anonymously? Our donation system now allows you to include a note if you want to keep your name hidden in donor recognition efforts.

One-time Donation - Choose Your Own Amount:

One-time $500 Donation:

One-time $250 Donation:

One-time $125 Donation:

One-time $10 Donation:

Conserve Community requests that you consult your accountant regarding tax deductions for these donations.

Your donations will help Conserve Community continue advocating for responsibility and transparency. Thank you for supporting Conserve Community!

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